When Audubon’s multisession program For The Birds! started in New York City in 1997, it provided workshops to only a handful of schools. Today, the program is present in nearly 20 schools in all five boroughs and other parts of the state. “We’ve grown slowly but steadily,” says For The Birds! Program Director, Haley Main.
The initiative educates elementary school kids in environmental topics in 4, 8 or 16-week long sessions. Over 30 volunteers work together with teachers and parents to incorporate official standards throughout the school year.
“We’re very proud to say our program is science-based, and that it’s possible to help kids with STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) with something as beautiful and fun as bird watching,” points out Main.
But For The Birds! goes even further. The program also helps kids with their English and arts skills by teaching them how to keep bird watching journals and field notebooks.
“The students are more observant of the natural world, and the activities improved the children's overall attentiveness and writing skills. Watching this is truly an exhilarating experience,” says Gini Stowe, one of the program’s volunteers.
All for one
This year, and thanks to a generous grant, the program expanded to also serve adults and families in the Greenpoint, Brooklyn area. “The idea is to bring the community together through our common love for nature,” says Richard Santangelo, Education Program Manager at For The Birds!
As always, the program is eager to continue growing and they’re hoping to add more schools in the next few months. “We’re always looking for more schools to bring our message of education and conservation forward,” reminds Main.
If you know of a school that would be a good fit for For The Birds! Program this upcoming school year we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch today via email or by phone, 212-979-3064.